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WLD42

NHL Outdoor Games reimagined (MS Paint)

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Well, with all this free time on everyone's hands, I've revisited an old hobby and gotten back into jersey design for the first time in years. And with all of this season's NHL games free for now, I found some inspiration in 2019/20's three outdoor games, which is where this concept series will start, and we'll see what happens from there.

 

By way of (re)introduction, this isn't technically a new account, but as I said, it's been years, and all my old posts are archived and all my old images are disappeared, which is for the best since they were pretty terrible. I'm not a graphic designer, just a hockey fan who thinks sports uniforms are beautiful, and as a hobbyist, my medium of choice is MS Paint, with some minor Photoshop for logo placement, recoloring, and resizing. I'm always open to criticism, suggestions, ideas, etc., and to posting revisions based on them.

 

First up in this series:

2020 Winter Classic

Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators

 

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I thought that on the whole, the 2020 Winter Classic had great-looking jerseys, but that didn't stop me from overhauling them, mostly by going even closer to their inspirations, the Dallas Texans and Nashville Dixie Flyers. I also thought there was no excuse for this game not to have been a color vs. color matchup. They look great on the ice, the league needs more of them, and while I understand that travel schedules are the main reason for not having them, outdoor games with one-off specialty uniforms are the perfect opportunity to make them happen. And it makes it easier for the road team to bust them out at home later on. So expect to see more color vs. color sets in this thread.

 

My Dallas uniforms are heavily inspired by the Texans jersey that featured the D logo, rather than their other uniforms that inspired the actual Winter Classic jerseys. I introduced silver as a way to mimic the Texans' two-tone-red stripes, and added it into the logo as well to make things more cohesive. The D-in-a-star patch from the Texans' sleeve stripes is also carried over into the Stars' jersey, rather than the Texas-shaped patch on one sleeve and the Winter Classic logo on the other, which has been moved to the chest on both teams' jerseys. The arm numbers have moved up to become shoulder numbers as well, to give the D-in-a-star patch room to breathe, and to fill the space left behind by the shoulder yoke that's no longer in my version. The tan pants and gloves have become a true brown, which is also the helmet's color to try and tie together the "let's pretend the equipment is leather" motif.

 

Obviously, the Nashville sweater has become yellow instead of white, but the striping pattern isn't much different than what was actually done. The cuffs aren't navy anymore, the arm stripes are a tad wider to make up for that, and the chest stripe continues onto the back, because it's my personal opinion that chest stripes cutting off at the sides (looking at you too, Florida) look terrible with very, very few exceptions. I could justify it if it made the numbers illegible or messy, but that's not the case here. As with the Stars, the Winter Classic logo moves to the chest, putting the fauxback tiger head on both shoulders. I also replaced the full-bodied tiger on the helmet with the head-only logo, because the full-bodied logo just always looked weird to me. Yellow helmets offered a better contrast to the Stars' brown helmets than navy helmets would, and the navy logo stands out better.

 

 

So that's the start of this quarantine project! Heritage Classic is likely up next before the Stadium Series. Comments and criticism are welcome, and if there's any strong consensus or ideas that really resonate with me, keep an eye out for revisions.

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2019 Heritage Classic

Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames

 

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The real 2019 Heritage Classic jerseys were pretty unoriginal, which I'm not saying in a negative way; of all the outdoor games, the Heritage Classic makes the most sense to have proper throwbacks instead of a newly designed fauxback. But that wouldn't make for much of a concept, so I made some original jerseys that still borrow heavily from real jerseys of the past.

 

The actual Jets jersey was based on the design from the WHA days, while I opted for the redesign that came with their entry into the NHL; the white arms seemed particularly striking to me. The only real modification was the addition of another red stripe to the hem, to keep the red-white-red pattern consistent throughout the uniform, especially in separating the jersey's hem stripes from the blue pants. (The reverse of that pattern on the pants is also what was used on the pants of the uniform that this is based off of.)

 

The Flames jersey is only a slight departure from their current heritage jersey. My only major change was to increase the role yellow plays in the design, adding it to the cuffs, hem, and collar, as well as to the bottom of the socks to match the jersey striping. I felt that with the logo, name, and numbers being so incredibly white with just the thin yellow outline, just a bit more yellow would balance that and be more visually interesting. Hopefully the end result isn't too busy. Of course, the big change from the actual Heritage Classic was to dress them in red instead of white, giving us another color vs. color matchup (I said to expect those!). Neither team wearing white could also allow the officials to wear their own cream throwback sweaters, as has been done a few times before, and which I think is always fun.

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For the Stadium Series, I decided I had to give myself some ground rules, because otherwise there's nothing stopping me from just going wild and doing whatever. (I mean, yes, that's what the NHL does, but they did it first, I'm doing it second.) So instead of starting from scratch, I set out to just do a redesign/improvement of the jerseys that were actually used, maintaining their core themes. To me, the biggest theme for both teams was the half-and-half jerseys; for the Avalanche specifically I felt the front design being its own giant logo was the main element to be kept, and for the Kings it was the slanted front and corresponding mismatched sleeves. I think (I hope) what I ended up doing was leaning into those core elements even more than the real jerseys did, and carrying those themes through the entire uniform in a more cohesive, more attractive way, while still having the Stadium Series' signature "out there" aesthetic. Oversized numbers have also become a frequent Stadium Series signature, so those are in my design too. Here's my take on What Could Have Been with the 2020 Stadium Series:

 

2020 Stadium Series

Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings

 

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The Avs get the bigger makeover, because their Stadium Series jersey deserved all the hate that it got, and then some. I guarantee that someone looked at the shape of the new Adizero collar, and the entire jersey design was just working backwards from that. So for me, tying the logo into the collar was the first thing to be gone, and I let the other pieces fall into place from there. The mountain pattern that formed the base of the A in the original jersey is now the main feature, with a white triangle added to still make the middle mountain resemble an A, providing at least something of an abstract logo and not just a striping pattern. The arms, pants, and socks have the same mountain angle, because like I said in my intro to this post, I wanted to carry that element through more fully than the original uniforms did, and the Avs have returned to the angled mountain striping on their primary jerseys, so why get rid of it here when you could instead take it even further?

 

The main change for the Kings was to add gray in a major way. Their actual uniforms didn't have any gray except for, somewhat randomly, the socks (I'm not counting the helmets, that's a different story). And I thought it looked really good there as a border between the black and the white, so I took that and used it throughout the rest of the uniform in a consistent way. The logo has white touching black, so I allowed myself leeway with the captain's letter and name-on-back, but other than that, black and white now have gray separating them throughout the uniform, an effect that also links the design more closely to that of the Avalanche. The numbers on the back now have the same slant effect as the logo on the front, and the mismatched sleeves are a bit more mismatched than they were originally, with black numbers on one sleeve and white numbers on the other.

 

I also made both teams' helmets much less gaudy, since both of them were dumpster fires in the real version. No out-of-place metallic effect, no giant logo on one side of the Avs' helmet, just a solid, matte color, with player numbers for both teams, since I didn't feel either logo would work on the helmet as well as it did on the jersey. And both teams have a hem stripe added to the jersey, to continue the separation of the two major colors by the third color where the jersey meets the pants.

 

 

Not sure where this series will take me next, now that I've finished 2019/20's slate of outdoor games. I've got other projects bouncing around as well, but I do think I'll continue to revisit this one from time to time, because the outdoor games are a perfect place to do a quick one-shot concept that stretches the creativity muscle.

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